Naming Winds

Theme for February: Resilience

Thursday, February 25, 2021

            This thought came to me during this morning’s windy walk with Delycia: What if I decided to give names to separate winds? I imagined myself seeing wind pass through trees and saying, “Let’s see . . . I’ll name the wind in the upper part of the oak tree Jimmy, and I’ll name the wind in the lower part Joanne, and now the wind in the lower part has changed slightly, so I’ll have to rename it and ….” It would have obviously been an impossible task. The puffs of wind we felt on our walk this morning were not separate entities, but were part of something vast, part of the wide wind that was blowing through Mystic, which was part of the immeasurable flow of winds across the earth. No one would seriously think of isolating and naming single puffs of wind. I began to wonder, then, whether our habit of isolating and naming any so-called separate, individual parts of our cohesive and harmonious universe isn’t, in one sense, equally foolish. It’s strange, for instance, that the name ‘Hamilton Salsich’ is used to actually identify me, as though I am a distinct and separate ‘piece’ of the universe. In a way, that’s as silly as saying, “Oh, there goes Julia” as a current of wind passes across my jacket. The truth is that the person referred to as ‘Hamilton Salsich’ is not separate, not isolated, not solitary, but is always an inseparable part of the single, endless, ever-changing universe. What is called ‘I’ thinks and feels and does things because the universe thinks and feels and does things. The great system of winds blows across the earth, sending puffs of wind through the trees beside our house, and the vast assembly of miracles called the Universe (which is my name for ‘God’) dances in its smooth and ceaseless way, moving the life called ‘Hamilton Salsich’. Don’t get me wrong — I like my name, and we definitely need to name things to make daily life convenient for us, but I realize, all the while, that all names are just handy but basically meaningless labels for so-called ‘things’ that actually can never be separated from the endless dance of which they are a small but vital and utterly inseparable part.

(about Philip M., 89, Blessings, CT)
He received a new name today.
It says he is someone new,
someone with sunshine inside.
This new name never blames, only praises.
It wears its letters like a prince,
and lives inside him.
It’s a special name,
as special as the name of summer, or celebration.
Tomorrow he'll receive another new name,
and the next day, and the next.
This happens to you, too.

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